|There are two sources of gaining this persistent love: 1) God and 2) God.
God both designs and empowers us to love. We will focus only on the first source here. More will be said at a later time on both how God's love is instilled in us and how regular disciplines help us continually draw on these two sources.
Source of Love:
God's design - we are wired that way
The first source of love comes through the knowledge of how God has designed us. Many of the doubts we have today are because we no longer are convinced that we are designed to love. There is always a sense of satisfaction that occurs when one is being used for what he was made for. This satisfaction is the opposite of the emptiness that comes when man lives contrary to what he was designed for. God's satisfaction gives a sense of reward, encouragement, dignity and renewed strength. It is fulfillment itself.
When I fix my gutters, I need to climb a 30+ foot ladder. Every time I come down I hope it is my last time to go up that ladder. How do I get up there without fear paralyzing me?
- I see other men climbing tall ladders.
- I look at the instructions on the ladder which assure me that the ladder can hold my weight.
- I also remember that I was up on that ladder before, and it held me up fine.
If I didn't have confidence in the ladder, I would leave it in its storage place. But confidence in its design enables me to do things that I would otherwise not do.
|When it comes to the ability to love a grouchy, upset and possibly frigid wife, we need to go back to our calling and design. This is what we are supposed to do. God made us for it. How does it work?
Love is the opposite of lust. Lust is only satisfied up to getting what it wanted and then becomes unfulfilled. Guys brag, but did you ever hear them bragging about how bad they felt afterwards?! Nope.
Love is the opposite. Love is fulfilled even if it does not get any nice response. Why? Because love is a spiritual principle built into the world and our lives. A person gets a sense of fulfillment merely by giving of himself. The drive for love is giving. Giving then provides more inner fuel for more love. We don't have all the love that our lives will need at once. But more love comes as we give of ourselves at the present time. The husband needs to give. Turned away. Love again. Turned back again. Keep loving. Love endures.
When does it end? When the situation is difficult, we look for an end to it. We hope for a 'pop' change that all of sudden makes it easier. Sometimes they come, but they are not solutions. Solutions lie in our consistency and the grace of God. There seem to be two possibilities.
Possibility #1 Break through
Ephesians 5 indicates that a husband's consistent love can melt down the distrust of his wife.
"Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;
but that she should be holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27, NASB).
God will be slightly improving our wives because of our perpetual love as husbands. A husband's love is to be so constant that it wears down the dam of distrust. She slowly begins to understand what she never could before: genuine love. Wives brought up with criticism have a difficult time believing someone truly loves them. In crises times, the wife can gain a glimpse of that real love through the persistent love of her husband. Her shell of distrust begins to soften. She begins to slowly understand how someone can truly love her for love sake and not from what they get from her. At that point she will begin to become increasingly receptive. Her new trust has finally awoken. She can begin to respond to his love. More will be said of this shortly.
Possibility #2 Endurance
The second possibility is more difficult to accept. Some husbands will be asked to love their wives without seeing much change. It is much like a soldier who goes out to war. If he continues to seek protection for his life over his buddies and cannot see the ultimate goal of the war of more importance than his life, then he makes a poor soldier. However, if he is willing to give his life for the sake of a greater good, then he makes a brave soldier. His reward will be found in the life after this one.
Some might think this is too much for God to ask. We are a sissy generation of men. Bravery and courage are obscured by the darkness of selfish pleasure. We have no greater goals that call us beyond our immediate sensual pleasures.
God's own Son, Christ Jesus, however was asked to love an obstinate people. This love saw no rewards here during His life. God caused a greater good to come from His sacrificial love. We cannot see the whole picture from this side and must not insist on seeing it. Some of us like Hosea will be asked to love although facing most trying circumstances. This is the ultimate sacrificial love. Christ did it because it was the right thing to do. He was called to do it. Did God's people deserve it ? Not at all. Husbands were designed to give themselves in love. Love always requires sacrifice of self. Sometimes this sacrifice is without present reward. Every husband should love his wife with a lifelong love.
The other means for fulfillment complement this view.That will be discussed later on in Inner Fulfillment.